The U.S. Ski Team has been shredding the slopes of the Arctic Circle this weekend in the second World Cup event of the season. While she still isn’t eligible to vote, Mikaela Shiffrin proudly represented her country and the women’s team with a third place podium finish in Saturday’s slalom event. This marks the 17-year-old’s second podium in her career and her 12th slalom start in the Audi FIS World Cup. The event’s gold went to Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the Olympic slalom champion from Germany. Despite being a seasoned veteran, Hoefl-Riesch finished a mere .74 seconds ahead of Shiffrin. Second place went to Finland’s very own Tanja Poutianen.
After the October 27th season opener, Mikaela opted to remain in Soelden, Austria at the U.S. Ski Team’s European Training Base. For the past two weeks, she’s been hard at work preparing for this weekend’s slalom in Levi, Finland.
“I felt confident because I had a plan to just ski like I do in training and I knew I could do that”, explained Shiffrin. “I wasn’t worried about what place I was going to come in. I was definitely nervous but I knew I could execute my plan.”
Roland Pfeifer, Technical Head Coach added, “After Soelden she was a little frustrated. She had good training runs and her expectations were really high. She was a little nervous that it would be the same in slalom – ski great in practice and not accomplish her goals in the race – but she worked through the pressure and skied with confidence.”
These dedicated efforts were clearly the defining factor in the day’s race. Shiffrin’s physical and mental training prepared the young skier to go up against a highly experienced field of competitors.
“It’s so cool for me to race and be on the podium with these girls”, said Shiffrin. “They are still so much my heroes, but they are also my friends. They’re so gracious about everything that they do and that makes this so much better. Whether I’m on the podium with them, training or racing against these girls – it feels like a family.”
With another stellar podium performance under her belt, Mikaela and the team head back to the states to rejoin teammates Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso. The star skiers opted to remain stateside to prepare for the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational in Aspen, Colorado. The event is set to kick off on Nov. 24-25, marking the 2012 World Cup’s debut on American soil.
It’s going to be a good one!